Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu: Turkey’s opposition leader is leading in the polls

Turkey’s general election on Sunday, May 14 will see voters cast their ballots for 600 members of its parliament and the country’s powerful presidency. This election has become intensely competitive in a country which has undergone severe democratic erosion over the past decade, but may now be looking for change.

Turkish president, and previously prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is attempting to extend his 21-year rule, but the unified opposition candidacy is now consistently ahead the in the polls. Many opposition parties agreed to nominate the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, as their candidate, overcoming previous divisions.

Kılıçdaroğlu has led the CHP since 2010, and has helped spearhead some of the opposition’s recent local election victories. He hails from Turkey’s Alevi minority, an Islamic tradition which has been persecuted over the years, and would be the first Alevi leader if elected. His appointment as a presidential candidate was not easy, with leaders of allied parties initially preferring the charismatic mayor of Istanbul Ekrem İmamoğlu….